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EWTG Star February 2019
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In This Issue

President's Corner Making the Most of your EWTG Experience Membership News
Mini-Course Professional Development Luncheon Conference Update
Get Involved! Sponsor Appreciation Events & Announcements
President's Corner

Karen Howard - pic

I am pleased to announce our 2019 Annual Professional Development Conference will be held on November 24th & 25th at the Embassy Suites Conference Center & Spa in San Marcos, Texas. Stay tuned to the monthly newsletters for more conference information as it becomes available.

The Board of Directors met in January for our retreat; I am honored to provide guidance to such a remarkable group of women. Many thanks to Susan Durso for providing guidance on our by-laws and sharing the history of EWTG. Audrey Selden conducted a thought-provoking strategic plan exercise and the board reviewed the 2019 draft budget. The budget was approved at the end of January 2019.

We are still building our committees; if you are interested in being on a committee please visit the Committee Volunteer Page for additional information on EWTG Committees. While serving on a committee, you’ll learn a variety of skills including leadership, team dynamics, communication, organization, project management and time management, and you’ll expand your participation in EWTG which enhances eligibility for an EWTG Scholarship.

I encourage everyone to add the monthly Professional Development luncheons and the Mini-Courses to your calendars. These educational opportunities are great for expanding your professional tool box and benefiting your career and personal endeavors.

Lastly, February is the shortest month of the year with a lot of exciting activities happening during this month. First this is my birthday month, then Valentine’s Day and finally a month full of historic reminders of our Black History. Here’s a famous quote from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

So, as we cultivate and grow our membership, be kind one to another.

Karen Howard
EWTG President, 2019

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A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view. – Oprah Winfrey

The 2019 EWTG Mentoring Committee is like millions of people across the globe who are “Sparking Joy” using the KonMari Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. The Mentoring Committee members are

  • Audrey Selden, Selden Consulting; retired Texas Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner – Compliance Division; former Texas Assistant Secretary of State
  • Christina McCoy, Assistant Director, Information Technology Services, Texas Department of Insurance
  • Pam Benson Owens, President/CEO, Edge of Your Seat Consulting, Inc.
  • Eboni Washington, Manager II, Health and Human Services Commission
  • Mercie Zapata, Resource Specialist, Texas Department of Transportation

We started the life-changing magic of tidying up... verifying the active EWTG Executive Success Teams (ESTs), who are the members, how often do they meet and what issues are these peer support groups tackling? If you are not connected to an EST, are you interested in joining a team or forming a new team? What kind of mentoring activities “Spark Joy” for you? Please complete this survey. Survey responses are due February 28.

Next month, we’ll contact survey responders with organizing information and details regarding an April 2019 mentoring event. #EWTG #MarieKondo #TidyingUp

Submitted by Audrey Selden
EWTG President-Elect, 2019

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Legislative Reception at the Capitol
March 12, 2019

EWTG members please mark your calendars for the Legislative Reception to be held Tuesday, March 12th at 5:30 p.m. This is EWTG’s third biennial Capitol reception for State Senators, Representatives, and legislative and executive staff. The event will be in the Capitol’s Legislative Conference Center, room E2.002 and is open to all EWTG members.

This is a rare opportunity to mingle with legislators and staff while enjoying adult beverages and a few hors d’oeuvres with friends and colleagues. EWTG is planning to honor a longtime female executive in a large state agency but details are not quite settled. Don’t despair…you’ll soon know all about it!

Volunteers are needed to address and hand-deliver invitations to Capitol offices, create small yellow rose table arrangements and greet our visitors at the door. Every EWTG member will be asked to call every Capitol staffer they know to encourage those staffers to come out and see the wonderful EWTG women in action and, hopefully, seek to join us.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the reception, please contact event chair, Laure McLaughlin, at or 512.925.7043. See y’all on the 12th!

Submitted by Laure McLaughlin
EWTG Legislative Liaison and Legislative Events Chair

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Greetings EWTG Members,

I am honored and motivated to serve as your 2019 Membership Director. I believe 2019 will be an exciting year. This year the membership committee would like to continue focusing on the importance of diversity within the organization.

The Membership Committee along with the Educational Events Committee hosts the EWTG annual boat cruise on Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake).

The membership committee is currently seeking volunteers and a committee chair. Your help is needed in order to plan exciting events for members who can invite colleagues, friends, and/or family members to join EWTG.

I am open to listen to all the exciting suggestions for membership events and ideas on how to give back to members as well. If you are interested in participating in this year’s committee, please use the link below to complete the online form.

EWTG Membership Director, 2019

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Strategic Plan Committee

On February 2, the EWTG Strategic Plan Committee discussed the committee’s charge to review the Strategic Plan and propose additions and deletions to the Board as appropriate. The committee will also gather data on goal attainment and assist the President with creating the Annual Report detailing the organization’s status. The 2019 Strategic Plan Committee members are:

Committee Member Agency/Company Professional Title
Audrey Selden (Chair)
EWTG President-Elect
Selden Consulting; retired TDI Deputy; ASOS Attorney; Educational Equity/Leadership Consultant
Karen Howard
EWTG President
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Program Supervisor
Aelia Khan Akhtar Office of Transformation and Innovation, Health and Human Services Commission Senior Transformation Specialist
Tonya Brown Retired Division Chief for Municipal Operations, City of Austin; Vice Chancellor for Admin, UT System Attorney
Catherine Crago Blanton Housing Authority of City of Austin and Austin Pathways Head of Strategic Initiatives and Resource Development
Regina Durden Bradshaw Solutions Group; former Texas Military Department, Texas Attorney General’s Office and TDI Principal; Procurement, Contract and Training Services
Melissa Hield Texas Department of Insurance Associate Commissioner for Consumer Protection
Gena Minjares Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company Chief Financial Officer
Liza Willmore Texas Railroad Commission; former EWTG Board President Project Director

Our initial tasks include updating the EWTG organizational history, identifying sources for stakeholder input, selecting an organizational health check-up format, conducting a financial analysis and reviewing the current EWTG Strategic Plan Goals:

  • Create Professional Development and Leadership Opportunities
  • Assure the Needs of the Membership Are Being Met
  • Promote EWTG Organizational Growth
  • Increase Public Awareness of EWTG
  • Assure Adequate, Cost Effective and Stable Administration of EWTG

We met at the Austin Public Library, 701 W. Cesar Chavez, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. The process to reserve a Shared Learning room takes less than 5 minutes. The Shared Learning Rooms have whiteboards and video conferencing equipment. The rooms are free and ideal for nonprofit meetings and discussion groups. Here’s the link: By the way, our lunch at the library’s Cookbook Bar and Café was delicious!

Submitted by Audrey Selden
EWTG President-Elect

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Connect with EWTG Online!

On Facebook, get connected by joining our EWTG Members Group. This group is for all EWTG members statewide — Austin and affiliate chapters — and it's private, so only group members will see what you post there. It's great for posting photos of EWTG events, sharing job postings, or asking questions of fellow EWTG members. Request access to the group by emailing: Feel free to follow the EWTG Page and the EWTG Houston page.

Social Media icons - graphicOn LinkedIn, get connected by joining our group page. As a professional networking site, this is an even better place to share job postings and articles on professional development or women in government. Any member of the group can post, but keep in mind that these posts are public, so please do not post personal information there. Log into your LinkedIn account, type "Executive Women in Texas Government" in the search box (or go to and click "Ask to Join" in the upper right corner.

On Twitter, get connected by following @EWTG. This is the easiest one of all! Log into your Twitter account, type "EWTG" in the search box, and click "Follow" on the right under the photo.

If you have news to share, we'd love to hear from you!
Send your news to

See who joined & renewed membership last month!

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Mini-Course Luncheon - Wednesday, February 13th

EWTG is rolling out the red carpet for every woman in Texas government. Join us February 13, 2019 for an informative discussion on the vast benefits of EWTG membership. The panel of EWTG experts will cover membership benefits, scholarships available, committee involvement and planning for the 2019 annual conference. This is your opportunity to ask questions.

Not a member yet? Join during this event and receive $10 off your annual membership fee. EWTG members who bring a non-member and/or former member guest(s) that join during this event will have their name entered in a door prize drawing. EWTG hopes you will attend our open house and join EWTG as a member for 2019.

Mini-Courses are held the second Wednesday of each month, and are located at the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina St., Austin, Texas. Ample parking is available, doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation is from noon to 1 p.m. A pizza buffet lunch is available for $10/person.

Submitted by Mary Sampson
EWTG Mini-course Director, 2019

Read More & Register
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Professional Development Luncheon - Wednesday, February 27th

Curtis Banks - picTune-Up Your Finances


Curtis Banks

Money Smart Education, LLC


It is true – you can have a successful retirement! You can enjoy life now and create the retirement lifestyle of your dreams and Curtis can show you how. Curtis has helped countless people manage their money and even saved the Boeing company a whopping $200 Million in just 5 years using his Money Smart Formula which he shares in The Book on Money Management: How to Build A Foundation for Wealth. In this event, you will discover Curtis’ 3 Keys to Money Smart Success – a must for financial success now and in the future. Attend this event to find out why the 3 Keys to Money Smart Success are essential for creating a retirement plan that you will proud of.

The award-winning author of The Book on Money Management – How to Build a Foundation for Wealth, Curtis Banks has cemented his position as America's authority on money management. An investor, educator, and creator of Money Smart Education, Curtis is a leader in the business and finance world.

Over the last quarter a century, Curtis has established himself as an authority through corporate leadership positions, a luxurious real estate portfolio, and a savvy investor with double digit performance in the stock market. His corporate assignments included teams of 500 plus employees and multi-million-dollar budget responsibility. In his last 5 years serving as the leader for Internal Services Cost Optimization, Curtis's strategies reduced internal service cost by over $200 million.

He now teaches the same strategies used to reduce corporate cost and create his personal wealth. Curtis will help you optimize your personal and business finances for long term success no matter the financial climate of the times. His money smart strategies are proven to optimize personal and business finances for long term success. His mission is to help you clarify your vision, discover your potential, become money smart, and build a foundation for wealth!

For more information, visit

Submitted by Tonya Hofmann
EWTG Programs Director, 2019

Register Today!
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In Case You Missed It; Luncheon Recaps…

Martin Zelinksy - picCommunication Tips for the 86th Legislative Session


Martin Zelinsky, General Counsel

Texas Department of Information Resources


Martin H. Zelinsky, J.D is currently General Counsel for Texas Department of Information Resources. Mr. Zelinsky spoke to a full room at the Austin Women’s Club and led an interactive discussion on legislative etiquette. Some key points from the discussion are below.

  • When testifying before legislators as an agency representative always be truthful, be prepared (bring resources), be succinct in your responses and do not disclose confidential information, be focused on the discussion (avoid distraction), and if you are not able to answer questions, it’s acceptable to say ‘I don’t know but I will get an answer to you by…’
  • When testifying before legislators as a private citizen who also works for the State take personal leave to testify, be sure to articulate that your views are as a Texan and not that of your agency, and let your manager know.
  • If campaigning for a candidate take personal leave to campaign, do not use State resources, and do not bring campaign materials to work.
  • Other helpful tips are do not attend hearings unless invited to do so, be aware that you may be overheard by lobbyists and legislative staff while out to lunch or around the capitol, agency confidentiality applies when in public, and if you are approached by a legislator while out, let your manager or government relations representative know as soon as possible.

For additional information about the 86th Legislative Session, go to Session runs from January 2019 – May 2019.

Submitted by Marie Cohan
EWTG Communications Director, 2019

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Kathryn Childers - picEWTG Houston Affiliate


Kathryn Childers

Former U.S. Secret Service Agent


The EWTG Houston affiliate hosted former U.S. Secret Service Agent and author, Kathryn Childers. Ms. Childers shared that her father taught her how to shoot and when she became scared of the gun, he told her to 'just do it scared…better scared than not at all.' Ms. Childers followed this mantra throughout her life. At 22 she had an opportunity to become one of the first women in the Secret Service. She went on to protect the Kennedy children, dignitaries, royalty, and she worked undercover to stop counterfeit rings. Ms. Childers took on new challenges and did not let fear hold her back. According to Human Resource professionals there are more jobs than ever for women but fear holds them back from applying. Ms. Childers says, “no matter how important you are, how extraordinary you are or how regular you are, you are defining what you’re scared of.” Ms. Childers wrote a book titled, Do It Scared and a movie is being made about her and the four other women that were the first to serve with the Secret Service.

Submitted by Marie Cohan
EWTG Communications Director, 2019


Are you new to EWTG and looking for a way to meet other members and get involved in our organization? Maybe you are a seasoned member looking to try something new. Whether you are a new to EWTG or have been around a while, volunteering on a conference committee will give you the opportunity to give back to your organization. Planning for a conference as large as ours requires a lot of outstanding volunteers and serving on a conference committee affords the opportunity to develop valuable organizational, leadership, and networking skills.

If you are looking for an exciting way to contribute to our organization, join a conference committee. Each committee has a unique purpose and importance that, combined, make for a successful event thanks to many committed and hard-working volunteers.

Please review the list of committees below and decide which one is best for you. Once you have decided, contact me, Terri Peirce the conference chair, at I look forward to hearing from you and know that together we can make the 2019 EWTG Professional Development Committee the best one yet!

  • Conference Evaluation Committee - The committee designs the conference evaluation form, establishes procedures for collection of the forms at the conference, analyzes the data obtained, shares data with speakers and workshop presenters and provides a written report to the Board. Committee follows direction of Vice-President.
  • Conference Exhibits Committee - The committee identifies and obtains exhibitors for the conference. The committee completes mailings to potential exhibitors, maintains frequent contact with those interested, plans layout of exhibits and writes follow-up thank you letters.
  • Conference Facilities Committee - The committee coordinates all logistical arrangements for the conference, plans the breakfast, luncheon and refreshments, provides final counts, reserves necessary sleeping rooms as needed, works closely with the Program Committee to assign workshop rooms, and arranges for conference audio/visual needs. Also works closely with the President and Public Relations Director to determine the logistical needs of the board, Keynote speakers, and Woman of the Year presentation.
  • Conference Program Committee - The committee develops the conference theme and workshop subjects, secures the workshop presenters, determines presenter audio/visual needs, secures and trains moderators, works closely with the Facilities Committee to assign workshop rooms, works closely with the Registration Committee to develop the workshop presenter bios in the conference program and sends thank you letters to workshop presenters.
  • Conference Registration Committee - The committee coordinates with the conference committees and board directors to develop the conference program, purchases the participant gift, supplies the final copy to the printer, prepares the participant bags for the conference participants, and works registration the day of the conference.
  • Conference Silent Auction Committee - The committee identifies potential donors and obtains items for the silent auction. The group prepares the bidding sheets, staffs the silent auction tables on the day of the conference, awards the items to the high bidders, and sends follow-up thank you letters to donors.
  • Networking Reception Committee – This committee develops the theme and obtains the speaker/band for the Sunday night reception. They work closely with the Facilities Committee to arrange the audio/visual needs, reception food/drinks, and possible speaker/band needs.

Submitted by Terri Peirce
EWTG Vice President and Conference Committee Chair, 2019

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get involved!
Called to Serve

Be on the lookout for service opportunities during the year. EWTG has served the following organizations over the years: Red Cross, Safe Place Alliance, Central Texas Food Bank, Susan G. Komen, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Ronald McDonald House, and many other organizations helping women and children.

If you have any questions or want to join the Community Service Committee, please contact

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EWTG Birthday Club

graphic - happy birthdayEWTG has a Birthday Club! As a member, if you opt in to the Birthday Club, you will receive a $5 discount on the monthly Professional Development Luncheon registration fees. Also, the member will get a shout out in the newsletter recognizing her birthday that month.

Opting In…

You must “opt-in” by completing the consent form indicating you wish to participate. The consent form will request the following information: First and last name, email address, and birthday month.

  • Once you complete the form, only your birthday month is added to your membership profile. Only CMP (our management company) essential staff and the EWTG Membership Director will have access to the information.
  • You are eligible to receive a $5 discount off your Professional Development luncheon registration fees by using the discount code, BIRTHDAY19. NOTE: Only one $5 discount will be granted per month and cannot be combined with other luncheon discounts.
  • Since we do not have professional development luncheons in November or December, those members who have birthdays in those months will be recognized with the October birthdays.

Be on the lookout for an email asking you to opt in or opt out of the birthday club. Please respond to the email so we can recognize you during your birthday month. We look forward to seeing you at the Professional Development luncheon. The speakers have been fabulous this year!

Submitted by the EWTG Membership Development Committee

It's easy to get plugged in with EWTG committees — just fill out
this quick, online form and let us know what committees interest you!

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Sponsor Appreciation

EWTG is very fortunate to have the support of Leadership Women! Leadership Women is a nonprofit headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with a track record as the strongest and longest in the United States. As a social enterprise that is in the business of improving women’s lives for the common good, Leadership Women is strategically expanding to offer an ever-increasing array of programs that remain cutting-edge and fiscally sound. Every year, EWTG has members apply to the Leadership Women programs and EWTG scholarships can be used to support members. Leadership Women offers the following programs: Leadership Texas, Leadership America, Leadership Pipeline, Leadership Launch and Leadership International all of which help women recognize their full potential and encourage them make a difference in their community and in their organizations.

Leadership Women is supported by the women and their organizations that reap the benefit of the programs we offer, as well as those special individuals and businesses that generously support the social good of helping more women be good leaders. The organization was founded by nine incredible women, who out of their mutual interests in politics in general and women’s issues in particular, saw a need to contribute to the success of other women.

If you desire to continue to grow yourself and your high-potential and/or established women leaders both now and into the future visit their website at

If you would like to become a 2019 sponsor or know of a business that believes in the power of women and wants to support leadership development, please contact us at and please provide the business name, a contact person, and a phone number or email address. THANK YOU for supporting EWTG!

Submitted by Marie Cohan
EWTG Communications Director, 2019

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Events & Announcements

If you have an announcement to share, please send it to

February Announcements: Happy Galentine’s Day!

Congratulations to the following members on their accomplishments! Jodi Contreras (ERS) was promoted and Macy Hurwitz started a new job with the US Census Bureau.

February Birthdays: Wishing you all a wonderful celebration!
Karen Howard, Margaret Earnest, Jodi Contreras, Amy Thomas, Gloria Clark, LaQuana Price

Feb. 13, Noon – 1:30 p.m. – Mini-Course Luncheon at the Carver Library in Austin, TX. See details above about this event.

Feb. 20, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Brazos Valley Affiliate Monthly Meeting – in College Station, TX.

Feb. 20, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Board Meeting at the Mitte House.

Feb. 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Professional Development Luncheon at the Austin Women’s Club in Austin, TX. See details above about this event.

Mar. 12, 5:30 p.m. – Legislative Reception at the Capitol, Austin, TX. See details above about this event.

Mar. 30 - 1st quarter scholarship deadline. [Learn More]

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